9 PM Daily Brief – September 8th, 2020

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Here is our 9pm current affairs brief for you today

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  1. Demographic dividend – Youth and atma nirbhar
  2. India’s confusing signals on India- China stand off
  3. Reduce state-level regulation


  1. Indian economic recovery – Unlock phases
  2. Complex Naga conflict

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1.Demographic dividend – Youth and atma nirbhar

Source: The Hindu

Syllabus: GS-2- Youth

Context: India can achieve the goal of self-reliance (atmanirbharta) by enhancing the capability of youth.

Are we investing in our youth?

  • The Central government spends about ₹2,710 per youth on education, skill development, employment, health care and food subsidies, according to the national youth policy report.
  • The 2014 National Youth Policy (NYP)defined youth as persons between 15 and 29 years.
  • Assuming that States spend an equal amount on the youth, even then the total investment in our youth would be under 1% of the GDP.
  • The youth unemployment rateis at least 18.3% (3.47 crore youths) according to the 2018 State of Working India Report.
  • About 30% of youth fall under the ‘neither in employment nor in education’category and 33% of India’s skilled youth are unemployed.
  • Post the COVID-19 lockdown, the CMIE estimated a loss of 14 crore jobs in April alone of which 2.7 crore concerned youth, when around 50 lakh youth are expected to be entering the workforce annually.

Steps to be taken

  • India has just a decade’s time to realise the youth demographic dividend. So, the country should launch an Indian Youth Guarantee (IYG) programme.
    • The European Union Youth Guarantee (EU-YG) launched a similar programmein 2010 at a time when youth unemployment rates were soaring above 20%.
  • In order to ensure gainful and productive engagement of youth, functioning of an Indian youth Guarantee (IYG) initiativeas an implementing framework with legal backing could help.
  • Youth Component Plan: the plan could help in the allocating budgetary resources under a separate head on the lines of the Special Component Plan for the Scheduled Castes and the Tribal Sub-Plan. 
  • IYG’s goal: young people graduating from college or losing a job either find a good quality job suited to their education and experience or acquire skills required to find a job through an internship within a fixed time period.
  • The district administration and local bodies should be incorporated by IYG for more effective outcomes.
  • Existing youth schemes and skilling infrastructure need to be merged and modernised.

Learning from MGNREGA

  • The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA)has been very effective in providing rural livelihood security and social protection yet only about 4% of youth in the labour force have been impacted by it.
  • Even though, an urban youth employment programme will be a new involvement, the rural youth employment should be instituted alongside MGNREGA.

The youth development Index

  • The Youth Development Index (YDI) in India serves as an advisory and monitory tool for youth development and helps recognise priority areas, gaps and alternative approaches specific to each State.
  • YDI can be revisited and deployed to play a vital role in crafting a region-specific IYG.

The way forward

  • IYG needs to be implemented across the country to address youth unemployment particularly given the rapid structural changes in the economy.
  • India should focus on the youth of the country in order to become self-reliant.

2.India’s confusing signals on India- China stand off

Source- The Hindu

Syllabus- GS 2- India and its neighbourhood- relations

Context- The Indian government seem to be sending out confusing signals about the ongoing India-China stand-off on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

Contradictory stand of Indian Government

  1. Ambiguous about situation– On the one hand, it has decided not to reveal the exact nature of the situation on the LAC. Prime Minister had claimed on June 20 that “neither has anyone intruded into the Indian territory nor has anyone captured any military posts.
  2. Bilateral measures to solve the ongoing dispute– On the other hand, it is attempting to negotiate Chinese withdrawal from Indian Territory rather than using kinetic means or tit-for-tat measures to reclaim its territory.

Reasons for such contradictory stand

  1. Domestic compulsion– Acknowledging Chinese possession of Indian Territory is bad optics for a party whose hardcore supporters revel in the military bravado of the party.

Implication of contradictory stand

Creation of ‘Two-and-a half front situation’ of India

  1. A restive Kashmir
  2. An aggressive China
  3. A Pakistan that never misses an opportunity to get at India

Thus, all of this together forms a formidable national security challenge.

Challenges to solve current stand-off

  1. Covid- 19 worries- As all nations are preoccupied with the domestic political, economic and public health worries of COVID- 19, there is little enthusiasm to stand by India.
  2. External support- Due toIndia’s inability to clearly articulate, identity and address the Chinese threat, no other nation or international system is able to stand by India in pushing back China.
  3. Discrepancy within Indian strategic community- Nations normally stand together and speak in unison, but this situation has not brought the country’s political and strategic elites together unlike say during the Kargil crisis or the Mumbai terror attacks.

Way Forward

India needs to stand together in unity and present the actual facts on the LAC crisis. So that it can take action accordingly in forming political strategies and policies with China and other nations to save its national interest, territory and integrity as a democracy.

3.Reduce state-level regulation

Source: LiveMint

Syllabus: GS2: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation.

Context: There is need to reduce state-level regulation to aid job creation.

Debate over roles of the state and central governments:

  • The debate over role of state seeded by the introduction of dyarchy in 1919.
  • Later it became an important part for people who started drafting Constitution in 1946.
  • As per former prime minister Indira Gandhi, strong states lead to a weak nation.
  • As per former Andhra Pradesh CM N. T Rama Rao, the central government is a conceptual myth.

Regulatory cholesterol for enterprises:

  • Too rigid regulations:The compliance burden imposed by states on enterprises is too thick for industries to flourish and generate formal employment.
  • Approximate number of regulations:there are around 1,536 Acts that create 69,233 compliances and 6,618 filings every year.
  • Frequent changes in regulation leads to instability and reduce confidence of employers. For instance, regulations changed eight times a day last year.
  • Massive, uncoordinated and punitive regulations made difficult for employers to create jobs.
  • Adding to this, recently COVID-19 has challenged finances, guarantees and borrowing of States.
  • Centre- State share in increasing regulatory cholesterol:55% of the Acts, 63% of compliances, and 65 % of filings are at the levels of states. Both the Centre and states legislate on labour, these constitute almost 72% of all the state compliances. States account for a whopping 97.4% of the 2,721 labour registers, displays and returns demanded. On an average state has 50 different registers and 15 unique returns to be filed in a year.

Possible implications of regulatory cholesterol:

  • Breeds informalisation of workforce and create sub-scale and uncompetitive enterprises.
  • The farm sector continues to employ 45% of our labour force.
  • Reduce productivity of enterprises.
  • Dwarf enterprises:due to complex rules India doesn’t have large factories.
  • Poor social security to workers and minimum wage is also not guaranteed to workers in such enterprises.
  • Less revenue to government: India’s 63 million enterprises only translate to 120 million GST registrants and only 70,000 of these have annual revenues of more than ₹5 crore.
  • Regulatory cholesterol hurts MSMEs: they don’t have the resources, time or skills to handle the complexity that supports a parasitic community of consultants, retired bureaucrats and inspectors whose services include “good relations”.
Significance of MSMES:

· Account for 32% of India’s gross domestic product (GDP), 24% of employment, 45% of exports, 33% of manufacturing, and 25% of services.

· They are the most vulnerable to the covid crisis, the least responsible for it, and the key to its solution.

· Jack Ma suggests Alibaba’s biggest economic contribution is an ecosystem that helps Chinese small businesses grow.

· Angela Merkel suggests the backbone of Germany’s industrial value creation is its Mittelstand, and Ronald Reagan believed small businesses embody American optimism.

Steps that should be taken:

  • Rationalisation:
    • Form a compliance commission: with a 90-day mandate to review all compliances and filings for relevance.
    • Redundant, duplicate and overlapping items should be identified and rescinded by way of an executive order.
    • For instance, there are at least four different formats of accident registers, seven formats for wage registers, four of inspection/visit books, and several formats of attendance records, employee records and advances. The number of registers and returns can be reduced by 90%.
  • Simplification:
    • Process of inspection of enterprises is highly manual and there is no coordination among inspectors.
    • Digital interface: States need to review these practices and introduce risk-based, consolidated, faceless, presence-less, and digital inspection processes.
    • Telanganahas recently implemented such a process.
  • Digitization:
    • Introduce single interface: States should catalogue all enterprise interfaces needed for one-time applications for licences, registrations, renewals, returns and payments.
    • Build or upgrade existing digital platforms: to ensure that no physical visit or meeting is required to conduct day-to-day business with enterprises.
    • Reduce the need for third-party consultants: Electronic document submission with unique tracking numbers, date and time stamps, service level agreements.
    • Reduce the need of physical office visits for submissions, follow up and payments.
    • Establish a common portal:to publish all regulatory changes, instead of multiple portals at the department, municipal, zila parishad and gram panchayat levels.

The time has come for States to rationalize, simplify and digitize employer compliances for India to attract factory refugees from China and create a fertile habitat for formal non-farm job creation.

4.Indian economic recovery – Unlock phases

Source- The Indian Express, The Indian Express

Syllabus- GS 3- Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment

Context– India’s economy shrank nearly 24 percent in first [April-June] quarter of 2020, the most drastic fall in decades.

Reasons for GDP contraction

  • Draconian lockdown– India had the most intense lockdown starting from March 25, resulting in the unprecedented suspension of economic activity in the first quarter of this fiscal year.
  • Parsimonious fiscal response– Fiscal response of the free food, subsidized credit and a handful of transfers to the most vulnerable not only limited the contribution of government spending to the economy, but was also insufficient to offset the drag caused by households and firms scaling back consumption and investment.
  • Low growth rate in consumption, investment and export– GDP is contracted because Private consumption, investments by businesses and Import which account for over 88% of Indian total GDP, saw a massive contraction.

Advantages of early lockdown-

  1. Slowed down the spread of the virus to provide extra time to resist.
  2. Provided extra time to ramp up the health and testing infrastructure.
  3. Lower death count as compared to other affected countries.

Figure regarding GDP decline due to COVID-19, economics green shoot and recovering economy in unlock phase-

Figure 1-

  • GDP being 23.9 per cent lower was primarily due to the pandemic-induced lockdown.
  • India’s death per lakh is an order of magnitude is lower.
  • India’s humane economic policy based on the principle that while GDP growth will recover  but human lives that are lost cannot be brought back.

Figure 2-

  • The green shoots before the pandemic display that the government’s policy thrust since July 2019 was having the desired impact.
  • The services sector has been most affected by the need for social distancing and the lockdown.
  • The purchasing managers index (PMI), had trended up sharply with Services PMI registering the best growth by February before dropping precipitously below 50 per cent in March.

Figure 3 and table1-

  • The V-shaped recovery in these indicators suggests that the government’s measures are enabling a recovery in the unlock phase.

Different Phases to return to normalcy-

  1. Gradual unlocking– Gradual process of unlocking, with supply-chain normalization and pent-up demand resulting in faster sequential momentum.
  2. Exiting from the lockdown– The post-lockdown pent-up demand typically fades, while operations plateau below the pre-pandemic levels
  3. Exit path from the pandemic– Going back to pre-pandemic levels either through the flattening of the curve, the emergence of vaccines or the development of herd immunity.
  4. Post-pandemic new normal– Fourth phase in which potential growth settles lower

Way forward-

Coordinated fiscal and monetary policies are required to finance higher deficits. The RBI has focused on support via liquidity in secondary markets and other regulatory measures to bring yields down, flatten the yield curve, and incentivize banks to buy more government paper. Debt monetization, as Indonesia has already done, might be the second round of defence in coming months.

5.Complex Naga conflict

Source: The Hindu

Syllabus: GS3: Linkages between Development and Spread of Extremism, Role of External State and Non-state Actors in creating challenges to Internal Security

GS1: Social Empowerment, Communalism, Regionalism & Secularism

Context: North east is strategically significant but it has largely remained marginal in the country’s popular imagination as well as mainstream politics.

Current scenario:

  • The region has witnessed multiple crises including bloody insurgencies.
  • It lacks the emotional resonance of the Kashmir conflict due to geographical, cultural, and ethnic factors.
  • Naga insurgency: culture of extortion and the collapse of general law and order situation in Nagaland.
  • Organised armed gangs run their own parallel ‘tax collection’ regimes. Extortions in the name of taxes have been a thorny facet of the Naga issue.
  • The ‘taxes’ levied by insurgent groups are intertwined in almost all developmental activities in Nagaland that any serious discussion of the issue has been conveniently avoided

Features of Naga insurgency:

  • The Naga insurgency has defied a lasting solution due to
    • Politics of sub-nationalism.
    • complexities of regional geopolitics.
    • Evolving dynamics of counterinsurgency tactics,
  • It is an extraordinarily complicated conflict whose management has involved a mix of violent response and bargaining.
  • The current peace talks and resolution efforts only testifies the intractable nature of the conflict.
  • The major aims of the NSCN-IM has been to acquire formal recognition to this informal practice of taxation and violence through negotiations.

Reasons for continuation of Naga insurgency:

  • Safe havens:Naga insurgents were provided with ‘safe haven’ in Myanmar. China and Pakistan also provided them with vital external support at one point of time.
  • Multiple stakeholders:
    • Government led talks are not negotiating table alone where various issues pertaining to the Naga problem are being discussed and addressed. The politics of its ‘resolution’ is taking place at multiple sites.
    • Various types of political systems are found among the Nagas—ranging from the pure democracy of the Angami to the autocratic rule of the Ahngs (tribal chiefs) of the Konyaks, from the gerontocracy (Tatar) of the Aos to the semi-republics of the Zeliangrongs.
    • The NSCN split into several factions, the Centre entered into peace negotiations with almost each of them.

Peace efforts made:

  • A major accommodative tactic in the form of statehood to Nagaland in 1963 was not successful.
  • Shillong Accord (1975): The Naga National Council (NNC) leadership agreed to give up arms. Its unacceptance by several sections led to the split of NNC, whose offspring was the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN).
  • The NNC Ceasefire Agreement (1997):The NSCN-IM signed a ceasefire agreement with the government to stop attacks on Indian armed forces. In return, the government would stop all counter-insurgency offensive operations.
  • Framework Agreement (2015) with NSCN(IM):In this agreement, the Government of India recognised the unique history, culture and position of the Nagas and their sentiments and aspirations.

Underlying issues:

  • Outcome of these ‘ceasefires’: Creation and existence of unspoken ‘spheres of influence’.
  • After framework agreement with NSCN(IM), Centre realised that privileging one insurgent group could eventually distort the contours of the final peace accord.
  • Non-inclusion of all Naga groups: the NSCN- Khaplang, whose cadres are reported to be inside Myanmar, is still outside the formal process. Government subsequently enlarged the peace process by roping in seven other Naga insurgent groups under the umbrella of Naga National Political Groups (NNPG).
  • NSCN(I-M) is opposed to the treatment of the Naga issue as a ‘law and order’ problem.
  • Varying interpretation of ‘sovereignty’: Naga demand for a separate flag and a ‘constitution’ has been a key hindrance in building trust among the parties.
  • Disturbing regional peace through mobilisation of the Naga population:Naga’s demand of Nagalim includes various parts of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Assam and Myanmar as well.
  • Proliferation of weapons:As a ‘ceasefire’ group, its cadres are supposed to retain their weapons inside the designated camps for self-defence only, but many influential cadres are seen moving with weapons in civilian localities.
  • Trust deficit: NSCN(I-M) has alleged that the interlocutor has subtly manipulated the framework agreement.

The Centre must keep in mind that most of the armed insurgencies across the world do not end in either total victory or comprehensive defeat, but in a grey zone called ‘compromise’.

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